Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of invasive breast cancer accounting for 2.5% of all breast cancer cases. It is characterized by rapid progression, local and distant metastases, younger age of onset, and lower overall survival compared with other breast cancers. Historically, IBC is a lethal disease with less than a 5% survival rate beyond 5 years when treated with surgery or radiation therapy. Because of its rarity, IBC is often misdiagnosed as mastitis or generalized dermatitis. This review examines IBC's unique clinical presentation, pathology, epidemiology, imaging, and biology and details current multidisciplinary management of the disease, which comprises systemic therapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: This type of chemotherapy is given before surgery and usually includes both anthracycline and taxane drugs. Doctors generally recommend that at least six cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy be given over the course of 4 to 6 months before the tumor is removed, unless the disease continues to progress during this time and doctors decide that surgery should not be delayed.
Hormone therapy: If the cells of a woman’s inflammatory breast cancer contain hormone receptors, hormone therapy is another treatment option. Drugs such as tamoxifen, which prevent estrogen from binding to its receptor, and aromatase inhibitors such as letrozole, which block the body’s ability to make estrogen, can cause estrogen-dependent cancer cells to stop growing and die.